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SDGs Nathan Oxley,

Su als sta o inab G le Development

Communications and Impact Manager at the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council STEPS Centre, asks if the Least Developed Countries can reimagine development

Five challenges for Least Developed Countries in the post-2015 era 2015 was a big year for international agreements on development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets were agreed. The Paris Agreement, the strongest statement for some time on climate change action, was signed. But if the aspirations in them are to be fulfilled, hard work is needed. This hard work should benefit the poorest people in the world, as well as those better off.

successes are now being supported more strategically – a massive project providing solar power to four million households in Bangladesh, for example, was supported by the public and private sector working together. A major challenge is not just how to get attention to the SDGs – but to use them as a framework for supporting innovative projects which harness the ideas and experience of local people, as well as outside interests.

Getting SDGs on the agenda In development and policy circles, the SDGs have been hotly debated, but it is a mistake to think they are on everyone’s radar. This may be as true for ordinary citizens in rich countries, as it is in poorer parts of the world. At the same time, those who are responsible for implementing the goals can be overwhelmed by targets and lose sight of the spirit of the SDGs. The irony is this: much progress can be made towards development goals without reference to them. But 28 MakingIt

Supporting the right things One of the main aims of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement is to mobilize financial support around an agreed framework. The question is: who will benefit from this support, and what kind of development does it encourage? What kind of models are we seeking to emulate? Trillions are promised for renewable energy, for example. But there is a danger that they land in favour of urban


Making It: Industry for Development #21